High School Notebook: Looking at where Western Mass. schools stand heading into championship weekend

  • Taylor Greene and the Turners Falls volleyball team made a deep run to the MIAA Division 5 semifinals. STAFF PHOTO/JEFF LAJOIE

Staff Writer
Published: 11/16/2023 5:44:20 PM
Modified: 11/16/2023 5:44:06 PM

The MIAA fall season is winding to a close, with championship games in boys soccer, girls soccer, volleyball and field hockey taking place in the coming days. 

How many Western Mass. schools are still in play for a state title? 

A state champion boys soccer team won’t be coming out of Western Mass., with no schools reaching the championship game. Hampshire Regional was the lone team to reach the final four, doing so in Div. 4 before falling to Lynnfield earlier this week. 

South Hadley, the top seed in the Div. 4 field, was one of two girls soccer teams to reach the semifinals. The Tigers defeated Lynnfield in penalty kicks to move onto the championship game, where they will face No. 2 Sutton for the title on Saturday at Doyle Field, with that contest set to begin at 10:30 a.m. 

Monson, the No. 2 seed in Div. 5, knocked off Hull in the semis and will take on top-seeded Whittinsville Christian on Saturday at 12:45 at Doyle Field in the title game. 

On the volleyball court Longmeadow (D2), Amherst (D3), Frontier (D4), Mt. Greylock (D5) and Turners (D5) all reached the semifinals, but the Mounties were the lone team to get a win to move to the finals. 

Greylock, the top seed in Div. 5, will face off against Bourne on Saturday at 4 p.m. at Worcester State. The Canalmen are coming off an impressive showing against the Thunder in the semis. 

No Western Mass. field hockey team made it to the semifinals. Tally that up and just three Western Mass. schools reached a championship game in those four sports. 

Western Mass. alive in football

Two Western Mass. schools have won a pair of playoff games to reach the semifinal in their respective divisions. You may be surprised to hear which two schools they are. 

Westfield, the No. 10 seed in Div. 3, traveled to Woburn and pulled off a 34-21 win to move onto the quarterfinals, where it squared off with second-seeded Billerica. 

Billerica scored a touchdown in the final minute, and trailing 34-33, attempted a two-point try for the win. The Bombers stuffed the try and were able to run out the clock to pull off a second-straight upset and advance to the semis. 

Westfield will take on No. 3 Milton on Saturday at 2 p.m. at Shrewsbury High School. 

Hoosac, the Intercounty League South champions, are yet to lose a game this year and that includes a pair of triumphs in the Div. 8 playoffs. 

The Hurricanes, the No. 3 seed, opened things up by defeating Athol, 34-18, in the opening round. Hoosac followed it up by beating No. 6 Old Colony, 24-14, to reach the semis. 

To reach the championship Hoosac will have to get back second-seeded Carver, which it faces on Friday at 6 p.m. at Shepherd Hill High School. 

Franklin Tech found out the hard way about the Carver passing attack, a potent offense that can put up points in a hurry. Carver beat the Eagles 55-0 and followed it up by putting up 49 points in a win over KIPP Academy in the quarters. 

It’ll be fascinating to see how the two contrasting styles play out, the Hurricanes playing smashmouth football while Carver looks like a Big 12 team that simply wants to get into shootouts and outscore the opponent. 

The one omission is Springfield Central, which won the Div. 1 championship in 2021 and reached the title game in 2022. 

The Golden Eagles, who are perennially under-seeded due to their strength of schedule, came in as the No. 7 seed and opened the playoffs off against Central Catholic, a D1 powerhouse that they faced in the 2021 championship game. 

Springfield rolled to a 24-7 victory over the Raiders, but things didn’t get easier in the quarters, where it traveled to Westwood to face Xaverian. 

The Hawks, led at quarterback by Henry Hasselbeck, the son of former Boston College and Seattle Seahawk quarterback Matt Hasselbeck who is committed to Michigan State, held on for a 21-20 victory over Springfield, ending Central’s hopes to reaching a third-straight MIAA championship game. 

The winner of top-seeded St. John’s Prep and No. 4 Andover will take on the winner of Xaverian and No. 3 Needham for the D1 state title. 

Seeds hold well

While the complete data from the fall season is incomplete, it looks like the much-maligned MIAA power rankings held up pretty well. 

The seeds in the field hockey bracket were nearly flawless. The top four seeds reached the final four in all four divisions, with the Div. 1, 2 and 3 championship game featuring the No. 1 and 2 ranked teams. The Div. 4 field is the lone exception, and that championship game is top-seeded Uxbridge taking on No. 3 Monomoy. 

Same can be said for volleyball, where all five No. 1 seeds are playing for a championship this weekend. 

The Div. 2, Div. 4 and Div. 5 volleyball brackets saw the top four seeds reach the semifinals and the top two seeds playing for the championship game. Fifth-seeded Barnstable and 10th-seeded Franklin reached the final four in Div. 1, but neither made it to the championship game. 

Same in Div. 3, where No. 7 Wakefield was the lone non-top four seed to reach the semis, though Wakefield did not reach the championship match. 

Girls soccer also held up well. Each of the five No. 1 seeds reached the final four while just four non-top four seeds made it to the semis, the lowest the No. 6 seed. 

Boys soccer is where the upsets happened. Just two No. 1 seeds reached the semifinals and only one, Concord-Carlisle in Div. 1, is playing for a state championship game. 

The Div. 1 title game features Concord-Carlisle and No. 2 Needham, the Div. 2 championship game is between fifth-seeded Wakefield and sixth-seeded Oliver Ames, the Div. 3 championship game is between No. 4 Pembroke and No. 3 Norwell, Div. 4 sees No. 8 Monomoy take on No. 2 Lynnfield while Div. 5 will feature No. 8 Westport and No. 2 Douglas. 

It’s a tough break for the Frontier boys soccer team, which fell to Monomoy in the Round of 16. Monomoy scored in the final 10 minutes of a competitive game to knock off the Redhawks and proceeded to beat No. 1 Cohasset and No. 5 Gardner to reach the title game. 


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